picoult Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

From the dustjacket:

An intricate tale of love, haunting memories, and renewal, Second Glance begins in current-day Vermont, where an old man puts a piece of land up for sale and unintentionally raises protest from the local Abenaki Indian tribe, who insist it’s a burial ground. When odd, supernatural events plague the town of Comtosook, a ghost hunter is hired by the developer to help convince the residents that there’s nothing spiritual about the property.

Enter Ross Wakeman, a suicidal drifter who has put himself in mortal danger time and again. Yet despite his best efforts, life clings to him and pulls him ever deeper into the empty existence he cannot bear since his fiancée’s death in a car crash eight years ago. Ross now lives only for the moment he might once again encounter the woman he loves. But in Comtosook, the only discovery Ross can lay claim to is that of Lia Beaumont, a skittsh, mysterious woman who, like Ross, is on a search for something beyond the boundary separating life and death.

Second Glance, Picoult’s eeriest and most engrossing work yet, delves into a virtually unknown chapter of American history—Vermont’s eugenics project of the 1920s and 30s—to provide a compelling study of the things that come back to haunt us—literally and figuratively. Do we love across time, or in spite of it?

My thoughts:

Second Glance is an intriguing, engrossing ghost story and a mystery whose solution is not surprising. It’s a story about love and also a history lesson about Vermont’s eugenics program of the 20s and 30s, which I had never heard of. 

There are a host of characters, almost too many, past and present, whose lives intertwine.  Each of the characters is unique in some way. Ross is a suicidal ghost hunter, Lucy sees ghosts, Ethan has XP and his mother, Shelby, has a huge vocabulary she protects herself with. Seeing how these and other characters interract with each other is fascinating and how they find love where they may not expect it is a nice touch.

I was amazed by the eugenics project. I had never heard of it, but it was just a horrible chapter in Vermont’s history. To sterilize people because they were not upstanding Vermont stock,  with or without their permission, was awful. 

My rating is 4/5.